Startup Weekend aims to begin new businesses

Students will be given a chance this weekend to start a business in 48 hours as the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts its third Startup Weekend from today to Sunday.

The weekend is focused on teams creating a working business model to present on Sunday. The event is free to students, with meals provided throughout the weekend. However, both students and non-students can attend.

“It’s intended to provide them with an opportunity to learn how to plan the launch of a business all compressed in a very short time frame over the course of a weekend,” Ken Klotz, managing director of the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said. “The goal is [that] at the end of the weekend they have a business that, if they wanted to, they could launch.”

Startup Weekend is also related to Project Springboard, a similar event in which teams compete with their startup business models.

“If someone were to participate in Startup Weekend, they would have done almost everything they needed to do to compete in Springboard, as well,” Klotz said. “So, we’re hoping many of the Startup Weekend teams will then decide to continue along and participate in Project Springboard.”

During the weekend, there will be opportunities for networking as well as learning from local business professionals who coach the teams.

Students who participated last year said they enjoyed the event and gained a lot of experience.

“You are thrown in blindly almost, but once you start going, you have so little time,” Nathan Lorentz, a senior social media marketing major and participant of this year’s event, said. “You have to click right away with your team [and] with the idea, and you get into the swing of it really fast.”

Lorentz said he thinks the Startup Weekend provides real-life, hands-on experiences.

It provides opportunities you don’t get from class, and it provides different opportunities from jobs that you may currently have,” Lorentz said. “It’s a great networking opportunity to meet people from all over central Illinois and get connections and experience that way through people with different backgrounds than you.”

Students interested in Startup Weekend can email Klotz at kenk@fsmail.bradley.edufor more information.